We are proud to endorse these candidates in local area Osceola County elections.
By Jacob Engels
As promised, we are releasing our 2016 general election endorsements earlier than our primary election picks this past summer.
In our new coverage area of Osceola County, below are our selections.
Do your own research, come to your own decisions, but this will get you started!
U.S. Congress: District 9 – Wayne Liebnitzky
Small businessman, veteran, and engineer Wayne Liebnitzky has a tough path to victory in this Democratic leaning seat.
However, the MAC Tools distributor has been campaigning feverishly across the district for the better part of a year. State Senator Darren Soto has taken voters for granted, rarely seen at community events or public forums.
In the year of the outsider, Liebnitzky’s hard work and firm relationships with the working class could be his key to victory.
State Senate: District 15 – Peter Vivaldi
Republican nominee Peter Vivaldi is probably one of the hardest working candidates in Central Florida.
Working his deep connections to local faith based groups and Hispanic radio, Vivaldi has outworked his opponent Victor Torres on every level.
Torres, like Soto, thinks this seat belongs to him, and that’s not the attitude voters should reward. If Vivaldi is elected, he would have massive power for District 15 as one of the few Hispanic State Senators in a GOP controlled legislator.
Those who want a seat at the table for their district should support Mr. Vivaldi.
Clerk of the Court – Malcolm Thompson
Malcolm Thompson would not be our first choice after his controversial stint as Clerk. However, the incumbent Armando Ramirez has been a flat out disaster in the role.
Ramirez has careened from one controversy to another placing the office’s finances and morale in jeopardy.
Sheriff – Dave Sklarek
Sklarek has spent 11 of his 32 years at the department as Sheriff Hansell's second-in-command. His peerless experience makes him our pick.
Russ Gibson is a quality candidate with a solid law enforcement resume but does not compete with Mr. Sklarek’s management expertise.
Marco Lopez appears to be running on ethnicity as opposed to qualifications.
Property Appraiser – Katrina Scarborough
Katrina Scarborough has done an outstanding job as Property Appraiser for the past 8 years.
Her longtime tenure as an employee in the office makes her extraordinarily qualified. By contrast her opponent Julius Melendez has no relevant qualifications.
After losing races for County Commission and Congress, Melendez appears to have become one of those politicians who runs for office every election for something.
County Commission District 1 –Peggy Choudhry
Osceola will be picking between two fresh faces for District 1.
We endorse Ms. Choudhry because of her small business background, fresh ideas and strong command of the issues. Her opponent Jed Suhl is well meaning, but needs more seasoning.
County Commission District 3 – Brandon Arrington
Brandon Arrington’s progressive values reflect his District and he has done an effective job bringing new healthcare, education and transportation options to District 3.
His opponents have serious flaws. Ivan Rivera is unprepared, Tony Ferentinos is under felony indictment and Julio Cesar Diaz is running on ethnicity.
County Commission District 5 – Fred Hawkins, Jr.
Mr. Hawkins has Conservative values that match District 5.
Hawkins has a well-earned reputation for being accessible to constituents. Fred has proven himself to be an exemplary public servant.
His opponent Jeffery Rivera is too liberal for District 5.
Kissimmee Commission Seat 1 – Olga Gonzalez
Olga Gonzalez has built a strong reputation as a community leader who works for people of all backgrounds. Her opponent Richard Oehler has been absent from the campaign trail.
Kissimmee Commission Seat 3 – Angela Eady
Eady brings fresh ideas and passion to her race for Kissimmee Commission. Her opponent Robert Joynes is a well meaning local engineer, but lacks Ms. Eady’s passion.
Kissimmee Commission Seat 5/Mayor – Jose Alverez
Jose Alverez has demonstrated a strong command of the issues and a willingness to work for all the people of Kissimmee. His opponent Art Otero is running a campaign based on ethnicity, instead of issues.
St. Cloud Council Seat 1/Mayor – Nathan Blackwell
Nathan Blackwell brings fresh ideas and Conservative values to his race for Mayor.
Blackwell vows to fight reckless growth and tax increases.
His opponent, incumbent Councilman Jeff Rinehart has a track record of increasing property tax increases and has been the subject of multiple employee grievances for abuse and charter violations.
St. Cloud Council Seat 3 – Amanda Taormino
Amanda Taormino brings passion and new ideas to her bid for Council. Taormino has been an effective local activist.
Her opponent Chuck Cooper is a former Councilman who has had his chance on the Council and it is time for new blood.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org